I am a big believer in easy kitchen hacks, especially if they truly work. What are some cooking tips or hacks everyone should know about? Today I’d like to share some of my favorite kitchen hacks that save time and/or money. Since you are most likely a busy person, you may be asking yourself, “How can I make my kitchen work easier?” What are some of my favorite easy kitchen hacks? Here they are, ready for you to peruse.
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Easy Kitchen Hack #1: Speedy Egg Chopping
How can I cook faster at home? One way is to use the right tools. I don’t do well with knives, particularly when the item that needs to be chopped is slippery. Hard-boiled eggs are notorious for sliding around once they are peeled. I can never get a good grip on one to hold it still enough to chop. My solution? Use a pastry blender. I briefly alluded to this method in my post about Seafood Salad.
Now, the best pastry blender to use is one you cannot purchase just anywhere. The most sturdy pastry blender I have found is the vintage kind with a wooden handle. Mine says ANDROCK on either side, and anytime I see one in a second-hand store, I snap it up. Other pastry blenders I have tried just fall apart. Some people might be horrified that I actually use a vintage item, but they are not that expensive. I recently saw one on eBay for $4.50.
Easy Kitchen Hack #2: Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
We happen to have a few chickens and enjoy eating colorful eggs. Since we have an abundance of eggs, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with the best ways to cook them. Here is the best way I’ve found to cook hard-boiled eggs without having any of that unattractive grey color around the yolks. No one likes the look of that, especially if you are trying to put together a nice place of deviled eggs for a gathering. The trick is simple. Just place your uncooked eggs in a saucepan and fill with cool water (enough to cover the eggs). Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat OFF. Set the timer for 10 minutes, and leave the saucepan on the stove. When the time is up, remove the saucepan from the stovetop.
Run cool water over the eggs to stop the cooking process. Remove the eggs from the water and set them on a towel to dry. When the eggs are dry, place them in a carton and refrigerate. When you peel the eggs to eat them, you will be amazed at the nice, thoroughly yellow color of the cooked yolks.
What an easy kitchen hack! No more guessing about whether or not the eggs are cooked. That’s a big timesaver right there.
Easy Kitchen Hack #3: Super Substitutes
Do you have any recipes that call for buttermilk? I do. My favorite scone recipe calls for buttermilk, but I never buy buttermilk at the store. Since my scone recipe (which I might share in a future blog post) only calls for 1 cup, I make a quick substitute instead. I mix in one tablespoon of lemon juice with just under one cup of milk. You will see small chunks form on top. Use as directed in your recipe in place of the buttermilk and no one will know the difference. One other quick substitute I use in baking is powdered milk. Honestly, I’m not a fan of drinking powdered milk, but when you mix it up and use it in baking, just as with the buttermilk noted earlier, no one will know the difference.
Easy Kitchen Hack #4: Cook Your Meat Ahead of Time
Of course it’s great to have leftover turkey or ham to add to a recipe to make a quick meal. Another one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts is to cook a few pounds of ground beef mixed with some vegetables ahead of time to make a ground meat mix. The mix can be used in pasta sauce, soups, casseroles, tacos, and basically any other recipe that calls for cooked ground beef. Here are the details:
Ground Meat Mix Ingredients:
3 or 4 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
Brown the ground beef with the chopped vegetables in a large skillet. When meat and vegetables are cooked, drain fat and divide into small containers or plastic zip bags,
and place in the freezer for use in a future recipe.
This recipe is flexible. If you don’t have celery or a pepper on hand, the onion and ground beef will be just fine. Also, I tend to freeze about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup portions of the meat mix. To save money, whenever I buy ground beef, I try to purchase the large, family-size packs. Adding the vegetables stretches my budget even further.
Easy Kitchen Hack #5: Cook Bacon with Less Mess
Oh, bacon. I enjoy eating it but cooking it can be a big mess. After experimenting with many different methods, I finally found a cooking method that saves time and mess. Some people like to cook bacon in a skillet, but there are splatters. Others like to cook bacon in the oven, but the splatter problem is still there. When I first heard about cooking bacon in the microwave, I was skeptical. Would it be crispy? Tough? I liked the idea and tested it out. But what would I do to prevent splatters? Paper towels! The paper towels we use are the kind you can easily tear into half sheets, which is the perfect size for this easy kitchen hack. You will also need an 11-inch by 7-inch glass pan. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the pan, then layer three or four slices of bacon, followed by another paper towel. Repeat the layers until you have placed all of your bacon in the pan.
Cover the final layer with a paper towel and microwave on high for about six minutes. The bacon on the bottom tends to cook faster with this method, so after the time is up, grab the edges of the paper towels and quickly flip the layers over in the pan. Cook for four more minutes (or until bacon reaches your desired doneness). Remove bacon from pan with tongs (it will be very hot) and place on paper towels to drain. When the cooking process is finished, I like to place all of the greasy paper towels inside the plastic bacon bag, so all of the mess is confined to one place.
Need More Easy Kitchen Hacks and Fabulous Foodie Tips?
Here on the FluxingWell website, you can get organized and create a free, editable meal planner. Learn the truth about air fryers and how to use one effectively. Get the scoop about some amazing kitchen tools that will save you time and money. Want to make some healthy snacks? Find out about some fabulous foods to dry in a dehydrator.
What are Your Favorite Kitchen Shortcuts?
There, I promised I would be brief. I know there are many, many great kitchen shortcuts out there. If you have a favorite kitchen shortcut, I’d love to read about it. I am always open to learning more shortcuts, so please feel free to chime in with a comment. If you like what you’ve read today, please consider subscribing and becoming part of the Fluxing Well tribe. You will receive fresh ideas every week, plus access to a library of free printable resources, including a free cookbook filled with the best easy recipes from the Fluxing Well website.
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Have a fabulous day, and enjoy trying these easy kitchen hacks!
10 thoughts on “Easy Kitchen Hacks for the Busy Frugal Cook”
I love the egg chopping tip! I have never thought of using my pastry cutter for eggs….what a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing these tips..super helpful!
I’m so glad you found the tips helpful. The pastry cutter has made egg-chopping so much easier for me. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. Have a super weekend!
Love that pastry cutter hack for egg chopping!! I’ve also Just started cooking my meat on Sundays as part of meal prep. Total game changer! Especially after a long day of work and I don’t want to cook.
Yes, I find my week goes much more smoothly when I have done some cooking ahead of time for the week. I’ve never been able to work in a day to make meals for a month, as some people do, but if I can just get some meat prepped, I feel like I’m ahead of the game. Glad you liked the egg-chopping tip! Have a marvelous weekend!
Great tips! I love the idea of putting celery in your ground beef. Always looking for more ways to hide veggies!
I’m glad you like the celery idea. Yes, I can be very sneaky when adding veggies to meals I make for my family! If fact, I’ll be writing a post about that very thing in the not-too-distant future. Thanks so much for reading my post and commenting. Have a super weekend!
Great shortcuts, Lisa! I love the idea of precooking the meat & veggies. I’ll have to try that soon.
It does make cooking dinner so much easier when the meat is ready to just toss in whatever you are cooking. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. If you try the meat mix, I’d be interested in knowing what you think and how your family likes it. Have a wonderful day!
I bulk cook ground beef at the start of each month. I usually buy two large packs at Sam’s and pat out hamburgers, make ground beef mix, and sometimes a meatloaf – if you season everything well, it marinates as it thaws. I love it. These are all great tips – I use the lemon juice too in a pinch, my dad taught me that trick as a kid.
How fun that you learned the lemon juice trick from your dad. Did he (or does he still) enjoy baking? My dad likes to cook as well. Thanks for the tip about seasoning the meat before you freeze it. I will have to try that. Have a marvelous day!